The National Competitive Grants Program (NCGP) supports the highest-quality fundamental and applied research and research training through national competition. ARC funding is provided through two programs - Discovery and Linkage. Specific schemes under these programs have varied across the years, with 12 schemes active in 2020. The ARC provides funding to eligible organisations, called Administering Organisations, not individual researchers. The eligible organisations have changed over the years, there are 43 eligible organisations in 2020. Read more about the ARC’s programs and schemes on the NCGP pages.

In this visualisation, you can explore the proportion of funding allocated to projects, as well as the amount of funding and number of projects awarded by funding commencement year, state/territory, university group, Administering Organisation, and scheme. Drop-down filters and click elements in the interactive graphs allow exploration of the data. Selecting an element in one graph or table may affect what you see in another graph or table. The text will update depending on the filters selected. This visualisation is shown over two tabs, click the < > arrows to navigate between tabs. Press the ‘reset filters’ button to remove all selections made. Click Help for more information on using the ARC’s Microsoft Power BI Tool.

Data Insights

Since 2002, the ARC has provided more than $12.9 billion to over 28,000 projects including more than 22,300 unique chief investigators.

The Discovery Program funds fundamental and applied research, and the ARC consistently allocates the highest proportion of funding to the Discovery Projects scheme. The Group of Eight Universities receive the highest proportion of funding, with these universities being allocated approximately 67 per cent of ARC funds since 2002.

The proportion of funding allocated by discipline and organisation is primarily a result of the applications submitted to the ARC. The success rates visualisation provides more information about the spread of applications across research disciplines including Science Technology Engineering Maths (STEM) or Humanities and Social Sciences (HASS) division, university grouping, and by program and scheme.

While the number of projects funded has decreased in the last ten years, the median funding amount for projects has increased and the return rate1 (per cent of funds awarded in comparison with the amount requested) has also increased.

Some ARC schemes do not run on an annual basis. For example, ARC Centres of Excellence are awarded approximately every three years (2002, 2003, 2005, 2008, 2011, 2014, 2017, and 2020). Funding levels increased in the years that ARC Centres of Excellence2 were awarded. ARC Centres of Excellence are prestigious foci of expertise through which high-quality researchers maintain and develop Australia’s international standing in research areas of national priority.

ARC Special Research Initiatives are schemes that provide funding for new and emerging fields of research and build capacity in strategically important areas. In 2014, a number of Special Research Initiatives were funded resulting in an increase in funding allocated in that year. 

1 Please note that return rate data is not available for some schemes or scheme rounds. For example, Federation Fellowship, LASP, some Special Research Initiatives, Linkage Projects 2002 projects and Discovery Indigenous 2002 projects.

2 For reporting purposes, a number of research centre-type ARC funded projects have been classified as Centres of Excellence, for example, in 2003, $301 million was provided to the co-funded National ICT Australia Ltd (NICTA).

Understanding the data 

The funding commencement year is the calendar year in which funding for a funded project commences. To read more about the terms used on this page and how the data is gathered see the Methodology & Data Notes.

To see information for the eligible organisations generally used for the ARC’s current scheme rounds, select all university groups except “non-university organisations”. Non-university organisations administered funding under certain schemes historically, including targeted Special Research Initiatives identified by the Australian Government. The Learned Academies and the Australian Council of Learned Academies only administer funding awarded under the Learned Academies Special Projects and Supporting Responses to Commonwealth Science Priorities schemes. Specific information about each scheme rounds is available in the grant guidelines. Read more about the ARC’s programs and schemes on the NCGP page

To note: this data is correct as of 20/10/2020, and only includes grants announced as of this date.

While due care has been taken in its preparation, the ARC cannot guarantee and assumes no legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, currency, completeness or interpretation of the information.


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